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Shortstop Eckstein lands on DL; Cards sign Vizcaino

NEW YORK -- David Eckstein was put on the disabled list Wednesday by the St. Louis Cardinals, who signed free-agent Jose Vizcaino for infield help while their regular shortstop is sidelined for several weeks.

Eckstein, the Cardinals' regular leadoff hitter, strained a muscle in his side Friday in Chicago when he slid into catcher Michael Barrett.

"He's going to get whatever time he needs to get," Cardinals
manager Tony La Russa said. "He's going to be a couple, three
weeks."

La Russa immediately put Vizcaino at shortstop and in the
leadoff spot in the batting order against the Mets, and he hit a
two-run homer in the fifth inning. The 38-year-old
was placed on release waivers by the San Francisco Giants on
Friday.

"I was ready for it," Vizcaino said. "Steve Trachsel was
pitching tonight, so I had a chance to play, even though I hadn't
played in a few weeks."

He was with the New York Mets in the mid-1990s, and was warmly
greeted Mets officials before the game.

"He has the ability to play different spots and switch hit,"
La Russa said. "We're lucky he was available."

While Aaron Miles was in the original batting order, La Russa
said at the start of batting practice that he was toying with the
switch, then made it shortly before the first pitch.

"Aaron Miles has done a good job for us. We'll play it by
ear," La Russa said when asked about how he'd split playing time.

Vizcaino has been to the postseason six times, including the
past two seasons with the Houston Astros. He has . 270 career
average and entered with a .210 average in 64 games this season.

"It's got to feel good when you are helping the team, even
though we didn't win," Vizcaino said. "You like to win."

Left-hander Mark Mulder was activated from the 15-day disabled
list and started against the Mets, getting beat up for nine runs,
nine hits and four walks in three-plus innings.

"It wasn't the outcome I wanted, but the arm felt good," he
said.

He had been sidelined since June 21 because of an injured
pitching shoulder.

"He had some mixed results, and I'm going to let it stand at
that," La Russa said.